Shaper on Shaper: Simon & Maurice

Show aired on 8th September 2018

Simon Woodroffe OBE
Simon Woodroffe OBE is the creator of YO! Sushi, the conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain which opened in 1997 and now has over 100 sites around the world.  He then launched YOTEL, the world’s most radical hotel in 2007, which now operates a number of sites including 700 rooms in New York City & Singapore, with San Francisco opening later in 2018.  By 2020, YOTEL will operate 14 hotels across 6 countries and 3 continents.  Simon is now working on YO! Home, his re-invention of the city apartment which looks set to launch in Manchester in Summer 2019.  Simon left school at the age of 16 and spent 30 years in the entertainment business designing and staging concerts for many artists including The Moody Blues, Madness, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder and George Michael before embarking on his YO! adventures in the mid-90’s.

Maurice Helfgott
Maurice Helfgott has an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School and is a Portfolio Entrepreneur. He founded and leads Amery Capital with a principal focus on retail and digital consumer businesses, currently including Oliver Sweeney and Goat. Maurice is the Senior Independent Director of Moss Bros Group and Chairman of B Corp Unforgettable.org, whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by dementia.  Following the successful exit by Amery Capital of Long Tall Sally in August 2016, Maurice was invited to remain as Chairman, and serve on the Supervisory Board of Munich-based, Equistone-backed, TriStyle Holdings. Maurice previously served as Chairman of My Optique Group, Europe’s leading online optical retailer bought by Essilor and was an Executive Director on the Board of Marks and Spencer plc.

“To put yourself through the agony of being an entrepreneur and doing things, there has to be some kind of what I call ‘grit in the oyster’”

“I think proving to other people is part of my motivation. I am not particularly proud of but I think is part of what drives me.”

“I truly believed 90% that it was going to work. 10% of the time I had a lot of doubts and that was pretty uncomfortable in my bodyand for 5% of it was sheer terror, thinking ‘who the hell do I think I am’ thinking I could do something like this.”

“I take risks, I do entrepreneurial things, but what I have never done and I have never been motivated to do, is what you’ve done which is start absolutely from scratch.”

“I start things from scratch, I am obsessed with being able to re-invent something and make it completely different.”

“I accept things that I am less comfortable with because ultimately I am responsible for taking a project through from the beginning of investment to making an exit.”

“I am very respecting of what I have done and I admire myself for having done it actually, I am proud of it but I also think I am very lucky to have got what I have got.”

“You know I get up in the morning and I am excited about what I am going to do that day, I am excited to meet people, most of my energy comes from meeting people and from newness.”